Thursday, 18 October 2012

The followers of Dionysos..

This world is portrayed as a broken machine
A war between good and evil

Passion tempered by common sense
Informed by all that is rational and just

Will not be spoken of...

In words that make sense.

Euripides made it clear

Pentheus- King of all sadness...
Decrees solid virtue, and temperance

Cannot give the god the respect that is his due.

Thinks it a game to dress in women's clothes...
To spy on religious rites as if they were sport

Delusion and pure horror, 

As Pentheus falls from his hiding place

Pain, his eternity.

"But she, the while, with foaming mouth and wildly rolling eyes, bereft of reason as she was, heeded him not; for the god possessed her.

And she caught his left hand in her grip, and planting her foot upon her victim's trunk she tore the shoulder from its socket, not of her own strength, but the god made it an easy task to her hands; and Ino set to work upon the other side, rending the flesh with Autonoe and all the eager host of Bacchanals; and one united cry arose, the victim's groans while yet he breathed, and their triumphant shouts. 

One would make an arm her prey, another a foot with the sandal on it; and his ribs were stripped of flesh by their rending nails; and each one with blood-dabbled hands was tossing Pentheus' limbs about. 

Scattered lies his corpse, part beneath the rugged rocks, and part amid the deep dark woods, no easy task to find; but his poor head hath his mother made her own, and fixing it upon the point of a thyrsus, as it had been a mountain lion's, she bears it through the midst of Cithaeron, having left her sisters with the Maenads at their rites. 

And she is entering these walls exulting in her hunting fraught with woe, calling on the Bacchic god her fellow-hunter who had helped her to triumph in a chase, where her only prize was tears". 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Freja's cats.

The Prose Edda asks:
 "How should one paraphrase Freyja? Thus: by calling her Daughter of Njördr, Sister of Freyr, Wife of Ódr, Mother of Hnoss, Possessor of the Slain, of Sessrúmnir, of the Gib-Cats, and of Brísinga-men; Goddess of the Vanir, Lady of the Vanir, Goddess Beautiful in Tears, Goddess of Love. All the goddesses may be paraphrased thus: by calling them by the name of another, and naming them in terms of their possessions or their works or their kindred."
Freya- The Lady- always stayed in my mind as the goddess who rides a chariot pulled by cats.

Snorri  wrote:
 "Her (Freyja's) hall Sessrúmnir ("Seat-roomy") is great and fair. When she goes forth, she drives her cats and sits in a chariot; she is most conformable to man's prayers, and from her name comes the name of honor, Frú, by which noblewomen are called. Songs of love are well-pleasing to her; it is good to call on her for furtherance in love."

In Britain and Scandinavian countries, cats are associated with witches, and magic. Whilst calling a man a cat...a a demasculinising insult.

The symbol of Freja's cats may have been changed by Christianity to represent Freya as the priests and missionaries saw her; a pagan, shape-shifting, lascivious 'witch'. Until Christianity was imposed as the state religion, Freya was seen as a powerful goddess, whose worship seemed to have been similar to that described by Tacitus, of the goddess Nerthus. She was a popular Goddess and her worship was difficult to eradicate. Until Christianity was introduced to the Vikings. Cats may well have been the possessions of the elite and thus a chariot drawn by cats was a symbol of her wealth.

Freja was connected to sex and death, there are references to her as a Queen of the dead (in Egil's saga). A goddess, like Inanna and Ishtar, of dualities: of love, war, sex and death. Freja was, to the Christians, a parody of the Virgin Mary, and her animals- the cats- became carriers of demonic influence...

And witches, such as Katla (her name preserved in Iceland by a volcano) were stoned to death.

The cat and key in the image is known as Borre style. It takes its name from the objects found in the ship burial in a great barrow at Borre in Vestfold, Norway, a few miles north of where the ship burial at Oseberg, and is dated to the 9th and 10th century, AD.

Borre style features gripping beasts, including a cat-like, flexible and bat-like creature, who give their power of shape-shifting, and secrecy to the object they decorate.

The term gib-cat seems to mean tomcat, i.e a male cat.

Freya's hall Sessrúmnir located in  Folkvang (is also a ship). It is the land beyond death ruled over by Freya and from where, those slain in battle depart to Valhalla.

It isn't too difficult to see her as the mother of all Valkyries. The Val part of the term-Valhalla, refers to those slain in battle. There is at least on reference to her as Valfreya...

Finally Wang is the Germanic pronunciation of Vang (field)...
Making me think of the Iron-Age chariot burial at Wet Wang (vaett-vangr, 'field for the trial of a legal action', or the "Wet Field" compared to the nearby dry field at Driffield).

A woman was buried with the chariot 2,300 years ago.

It was a secondary burial, or she had lain elsewhere for some days before her final burial whilst her grave was dug.

She was described as 'a mature lady' and her burial was unusual because normally a body would be placed in the grave with its head at the north. At Wet Wang, this pattern is reversed and the lady was placed in a small hollow in the southern end of the grave

She was brought to the grave at the top of a hill, perhaps on the chariot and placed in the earth, crouched upon her side upon a mat or blanket and with a mirror. Joints of a pig were sent with her. Next her chariot was dismantled and placed in the north side of the grave, and her horses were led away...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lord of the Tree.

Mesopotamian mythology.
The earth's crust sealed the land of the dead from the land of the living, but a way could be opened either by digging, or by magic.

The way to the Underworld could be traversed by foot, by boat or by chariot. The textual evidence is supported by models and the discovery of real chariots harnessed to oxen, within the royal graves of Ur.

But the road could only be traveled one way, though the dead may return, either for periodic rites (such as Gehtinanna and Dumuzi) and then return. Escape from the Underworld only if a substitute was found  (Inanna who sent Dumuzi in her place).

Evil spirits and restless ghosts could escape.
There are many 'Babylonian' rituals and prayers recorded to banish these entities back to the Underworld....


Ningishizida was taken to the Underworld to become a judge.

In the text he is called Dumu, Ishteran, Alla and Lugal-cud-e, names that refer to him as a warrior, his youth, beauty and wisdom.

His grandmother was the Queen of the Underworld...

His connection with serpents, and trees/ fertility and growth make him a very Persephone like, deity.

Here is the story..
The ending is too fragmentary to read, so it is not included.


"Arise and get on board, arise, we are about to sail, arise and get on board!"

Woe, weep for the bright daylight, as the barge is steered away!

"I am a young man!
Let me not be covered against my wishes by a cabin, as if with a blanket, as if with a blanket!"

Stretching out a hand to the barge, to the young man being steered away on the barge, stretching out a hand to the young man, Dumu being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Ishtaran of the bright face being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Alla, master of the battle-net, being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Lugal-cud-e being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Ningishzida being taken away on the barge;  his younger sister was crying in lament to him in the boat's bow.

His older sister removed the cover from the boat's cabin

"Let me sail away with you, let me sail away with you. My brother, let me sail on your barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you.

She was crying a lament to him at the boat's bow:
" Brother, let me sail away with you.
The gudug priest sits in the cabin at your boat's stern."

She was crying a lament to him:
"Let me sail away with you, my brother, let me sail away with you. My young man Damu, let me sail away with you. Ishtaran of the bright visage, let me sail away with you, Alla, master of the battle-net, let me sail away with you. Lugal-cud-e, let me sail away with you. Ningishzida, let me sail away with you. My brother, let me sail on your barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you. Let me sail on your splendid barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you".

The evil demon who was in their midst called out to Lugal-ki-bura, look at your sister!"

Having looked at his sister, Lugal-ki-bura said to her:
"He sails with me, he sails with me.
Why should you sail to the underworld?
Lady, the demon sails with me.
Why should you sail  to the underworld?
The thresher sails with me.
Why should you sail to the underworld?
The man who has bound my hands sails with me.
Why should you sail?
The man who has tied my arms sails with me.
Why should you sail?

The river of the nether world produces no water, no water is drunk from it.
Why should you sail?
The fields of the nether world produce no grain, no flour is eaten from it.
Why should you sail?
The sheep of the nether world produce no wool, no cloth is woven from it.
Why should you sail?
As for me, even if my mother digs as if for a canal, I shall not be able to drink the water meant for me. The waters of springtime will not be poured for me as they are for the tamarisks; I shall not sit in the shade intended for me. The dates I should bear like a date palm will not show their beauty for me. I am a field threshed by my demon -- you would scream at it. He has put manacles on my hands -- you would scream at it. He has put a neck-stock on my neck -- you would scream at it."

Ama-cilama (Ningishzida's sister) said to Ningishzida:
"The demon may accept something there should be a limit to it for you.
You are a beloved, there should be a limit to it for you. How they treat you, how they treat you! There should be a limit to it for you. My brother, how they treat you, how haughtily they treat you! -- there should be a limit to it for you. "I am hungry, but the bread has slipped away from me!" -- there should be a limit to it for you. "I am thirsty, but the water has slipped away from me!" -- there should be a limit to it for you."

The evil demon who was in their midst, the clever demon, that great demon who was in their midst, called out to the man at the boat's bow and to the man at the boat's stern:
"Don't let the mooring stake be pulled out, don't let the mooring stake be pulled out, so that she may come on board to her brother, that this lady may come on board the barge."

When Ama-cilama had gone on board the barge, a cry approached the heavens, a cry approached the earth, that great demon set up an enveloping cry before him on the river:

"Urim, at my cry to the heavens lock your houses, lock your houses, city, lock your houses!
Shrine Urim, lock your houses, city, lock your houses!
Against your lord who has left the jipar, city, lock your houses!" ...

The translation is at:

This page tells you more:

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Pudu-Ḫepa, or Pudu-Kheba) was a Hittite Queen married to the King Hattusili III.

Queen Pudu-Hepa was born at the beginning of the 13th century BC in the city of Lawazantiya in Kizzuwatna (Cilicia, a region south of the Hittite kingdom). Her father Bentepsharri was the a priest of Ishtar, and Puduhepa grew up to be a priestess of the same goddess.

Her daughters were Queen Maathorneferure of Egypt and Princess Kiluš-Ḫepa.

The Hittite princess (Maathorneferure) left Hattusa, the Hittite capital, in late 1246 BCE, accompanied by her mother and a huge contingent laden with gold, silver, bronze, cattle and sheep, and slaves. At the Egyptian frontier, a message was despatched to the Pharaoh:
'They have traversed sheer mountains and treacherous passes to reach Your Majesty's border.'
 Ramesses sent a welcoming party to escort the princess through Canaan and into Egypt.

She  arrived in February 1245 BCE at Pi-Ramesse.

For Ramesses, the marriage was valuable more for the large dowry he acquired rather than his new bride, who, given his great love for his Egyptian wife Nefertari, was despatched to his harem palace at Mer-wer (today's Gurob).

According to another account, however, Maathorneferure is said to have given Ramesses a baby and died shortly thereafter.

You, Oh Lelwani, eat the fat of [the cow], of the ewe and the nanny-goat [and satisfy your hunger].
Drink (!) that [blood] and quench your thirst!
The fat [...] of the fattened cow, and that of the ewe and the nanny-goat, [...].
Behold Gassulawiya, your maid [has] herewith [sent] to you this woman.
Oh god, she has dressed [her] up in festive garments and sent you her [substitute].
If you, oh god, have counted something against her, let this woman stand for you in her place.
Oh god, my lord, remove this sickness from Gassuliyawiya!...

From Hittite Prayers.
By Itamar Singer, Harry A. Hoffner

Mursili II was the younger son of Suppiluliuma I, one of the most powerful rulers of the Hittite Empire. He was the younger brother of Arnuwanda II and had a sister and one more brother.

Mursili is known to have had several children with his first wife Gassulawiya including three sons named Muwatalli, Hattusili III and Halpasulupi. A daughter named Massanauzzi (referred to as Matanaza in correspondence with the Egyptian king Ramesses II) was married to Masturi, a ruler of a vassal state. Mursili had further sons with a second wife named Tanuhepa. The names of the sons of this second wife have not been recorded however.

Mursili III, Queen Maathorneferure and Tudhaliya IV were grandchildren of Mursili II.